Talking points: Tottenham 2 United 2

Thursday 27 April 2023 22:46

Manchester United were unable to add to the six-point gap over Tottenham Hotspur in the race for a top-four place, after the Londoners came from two goals behind to hold us to a draw.

The Premier League contest at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium finished 2-2, after the Reds had gone in at the break two goals to the good. 

First-half strikes from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford had put Erik ten Hag's side firmly in control going into the dressing rooms at the midway point, but second-half efforts from Pedro Porro and Heung-min Son ensured the spoils would be shared. 

Here are eight of the key things that we noticed from a contest of two halves in the capital...

90 in 20: Tottenham v United Video

90 in 20: Tottenham v United

90 in 20 | Extended highlights of an entertaining match in north London are now available to view...


A major talking point in the pre-match build-up – and in the press room before the teams were announced – was the fitness of Bruno Fernandes. The midfielder looked to have picked up a knock in Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup semi-final, and with Erik ten Hag not giving anything away during Wednesday’s pre-match media duties, the question marks remained right up until the line-ups were released. Bruno was not only involved but started, played the full 90 minutes and superbly launched the pass for Rashford's goal. Having been fit to feature at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, our no.8 maintains his record of never missing a United game through injury since he joined the club in January 2020.


There was just the one alteration to the weekend’s Wembley starting XI, with Sancho in from the off, in place of Anthony Martial. The 23-year-old's inclusion was justified inside the opening 10 minutes, with our no.25 netting a superb opener. The goal laid the foundations for a confident showing from the London-born winger, before he was replaced by Martial just after the hour mark.


Sancho’s strike was an early show of United’s first-half ruthlessness. In October’s reverse fixture at Old Trafford, Ten Hag’s men were dominant in the first half but weren’t able to make the breakthrough until after the interval. It felt at half-time, on that occasion, like it could be one of those nights. There was little of that at the midway point this time around – the Reds had a firm control on the game as a result, and looked to be well on the way to another pleasing win over the Londoners.


While United didn’t have an abundance of chances in the opening 45 minutes, the Reds always seemed relatively comfortable and in control of the contest. After the teams emerged for the second half, everything changed and there was real impetus about our opponents’ play, as they rallied. Porro's goal added fuel to the fire and with the crowd up, a difficult second half begin to unravel. The home side's play got the equaliser that it deserved, and ultimately meant for a disappointing evening for Ten Hag's side, despite the positive start.

Why Rashford is the best since van Persie


Marcus scored his 29th goal of the season during our 2-2 draw at Tottenham.


A leading plus on the evening was Rashford adding to his ever-growing tally for the term. The forward netted his 29th United goal across all competitions with a finish that was also his 50th away from home, for the club. It’s already the best goalscoring campaign of his career so far, and his latest effort ensures he surpasses Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s tally of 28 in 2016/17 and Bruno Fernandes's 28 from 2020/21, meaning he’s now scored more goals than any other Red in a single term since Robin van Persie netted 30 in his debut campaign of 2012/13. With seven games still to come in the league, and an FA Cup final, Marcus has a brilliant chance to match and better that number too.


Our travelling supporters were back in the capital after Sunday's Wembley success and could be heard in strong voice over the course of the evening. Our fans in the ground went through the familiar repertoire of favourites, as well as noticeably referencing the recent transfer speculation between Tottenham forward Harry Kane and the Reds. ‘Harry Kane, we’ll see you in June’ was the light-hearted chant that could be heard in the stadium during the first half. Spurs' no.10 showed his quality after half-time, setting up Son's leveller after his blocked attempt led to his team's first goal, scored by Porro.


Christian received warm applause from around the stadium when he was substituted in the 62nd minute. Our no.14 spent six-and-a-half years at Spurs and was a mainstay in Mauricio Pochettino’s impressive side of the mid-to-late 2010s. Tonight was his first appearance back at the home stadium of his former club since he departed in 2020, and his contributions across more than 300 outings in white were rightly recognised by the Tottenham supporters.

Who was United's Man of the Match?


See which player was voted as our standout performer following the 2-2 draw with Spurs.


With the home side's fightback, the Reds missed the opportunity to extend the advantage over Spurs in the race for Champions League football next season. The gap remains six points to the Londoners, who are now one spot below fourth-place United in the table, having leapfrogged our next opponents Aston Villa and gone fifth with the point tonight. Spurs have, however, played two more games than us and face a tricky trip to Liverpool on Sunday.